There is no denying that the virtual world is expanding at a relentless pace. These days, almost every home on the planet features at least one and, in some cases, dozens of smart devices connected to the internet through home networks.
This, of course, is a great achievement. Smartphones, home security systems, virtual assistants, and, why not, even smart kettles are making our lives faster, sleeker and more streamlined.
But, with all the things said, it should be mentioned that as the world of IoT (Internet of Things) quickly grows, so do its darker landscapes in which the security of our devices may be compromised.
If not properly cared for, every new gadget we bring into our homes or our offices presents a potential threat. For instance, according to a recent research, the average IoT device is hit by credential attacked every two minutes.
So, let’s take some time to talk about privacy protection and see what you can do to secure your smart devices.
Since most of the smart devices access the internet wirelessly it can be said that your home router presents a sort of entrance that the cybercriminals can use to access your home. The problem is that the affordable routers you get from the ISP providers are not always secure. So, for a start, invest some money into a more reliable unit.
The second step would be to give your router an unusual name that can’t be associated with your personal information like the date of birth or address.
Once you are done with the router, it is time set up the Wi-Fi and it is highly advised to use Virtual Private Network and create multiple sub-networks that will serve different purposes. This way, kids’ access to the internet can be monitored much more closely, and the VPN used by the IoT devices remains isolated from the devices used by guests and visitors.
Also, all of your Wi-Fi routers should be further secured with robust passwords and strong encryption methods. Once again, avoid the phrases that rely on your personal data and stay clear of default entries.
The basis of the Internet of Things is the ability of various devices to interact with each other and “share” information. To make this process secure, you need to exert control over what exactly is being shared. So, check the settings of all of your Bluetooth and IoT-capable devices and disable the sharing of all parameters that aren’t vital for the proper function of other smart units.
The network and sharing settings can be found under the System Preferences on Apple products, and the Network and Sharing Center on Windows devices.
Security software can go a long way protecting your devices from virtual attacks. The choice of the available solutions is pretty vast and it ranges from absolute basics like antiviruses and firewalls to services that allow you remotely change passwords and erase data if your devices end up stolen or lost. The more these services you cover the better.
Keep in mind, though, that the performance of these apps and services is highly dependent on the security updates frequently released by the developers so do your best to check for the updates on a daily basis.
Although the use of diverse security software is very encouraged, you should be much more selective when it comes to casual apps. The current app landscape is hard to grasp and it is very difficult to assess the degree in which the software protects your smart devices from cyber-attacks.
So, in order to keep the risk level on the bare minimum install the apps only through proper channels (dedicated app stores), check the available reviews and pay attention to devise functions the app is asking the access to. The apps that ask you to repeatedly enter the account information should be avoided.
Adding an additional layer of authentication to your private accounts may make your daily operations somewhat harder, but it also does a great job protecting your sensitive information. The bigger problem is that, until all the services you are using start supporting the two-factor authentication system, you will need to use a dedicated password manager.
Out of the options that are currently present on the market, online password managers present by far the most robust and user-friendly systems available. All of your login information will be backed up in the cloud and there is a very little risk they will be compromised even if someone cracks your master password.
The digital realm is a big harsh world. If you leave the door open, trouble will get in much before a friendly intent knocks. No one will do anything to protect you unless you do that for yourself. Take these tips, and apply them in the measure you find suitable, and make sure you are constantly on top of what is new on the Global network to know when you need to upgrade your protection.